CM: Motivated by her love for cats, Ismini Bonatsou created The Boy Who Drew Cats, based on the homonymous tale of 1898 by Lafcadio Hearn. According to this tale the youngest son of a farmer and his wife was too small and weak, and spent all his time drawing cats instead of doing his chores. So, they took him to the temple to become a priest. He learned quickly, but he went on drawing cats everywhere. The old priest finally said he could not be a priest, though he might be an artist, and sent him away with the advice to avoid large places at night, and keep to small ones. So the boy wandered before arriving at a deserted temple in an empty city. In its huge interior the boy frantically began drawing again cats. The night came and he went to sleep, but he remembered the advice of the old priest, so he retired in the small space of a cabinet. During the night he heard frightening sounds of anxiety and pain and crouched in his little corner. In the morning as he came out of the cabinet he saw a huge rat, which was killed by the cats he drew. So the village was saved from the threat of the rat that had driven its inhabitants away.
Bonatsou included Lafcadio in the lower part of the composition, based on the image use by Estia Publications of a black and white photograph taken by Frederick Gutekunst, which shows him in a state of inspiration. The painter compressed the image in width to propose Lafcadio as the fairytale's foundation. She then presented the boy standing colorful on Lafcadio's head, using spray as a graffiti artist. The silhouettes of cats were created by simple lines with colored pencils in the style of children's art. To make the cats' eyes sparkle, Bonatsou used a metallic pigment that is Japanese. By her choice of wooden frame Bonatsou gave her work the feeling of a classic school's blackboard. This story then seems to suggest that a child, doing what it loves while respecting the advice of those who care for it, ultimately offers something to the benefit of the entire world.
[Megakles Rogakos 04/2009]
ROGAKOS, MEGAKLES The Open Mind of Lafcadio Hearn 2009 The American College of Greece - ACG Art, Athens